A Gravesend street was co-named over the weekend to recognize a woman for her service to a local church where she mentored young adults and volunteered in the surrounding community.
E. 2nd Street at Avenue W was co-named “Barbara Dattilo Way” in a ceremony on June 14 attended by family, friends, members of the Our Lady of Grace Church, and Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island).
Dattilo founded the Lady of Grace youth group in 1997 as a way to encourage teens to engage in acts of service in their community — from homeless outreach to nursing home visits. The group gave teens a safe haven to discuss their struggles, and Dattilo is remembered by church members as someone who never gave up on those need.
“She was someone that could see where you needed help, give you the direction on how to get there, and stick with you for the ride for anything you might need along the way,” said Steven Eriquez, who served alongside Dattilo as a youth leader at the church. “She was by far the most genuine and humble person I’ve ever encountered, and her willingness to give up herself to help others was extraordinary.”
Several teens and adults who worked with Dattilo in the youth group attended the ceremony, including priests who were active in establishing the group. A choir of church members who were teens in Dattilo’s group sang a selection of songs — including, at the family’s request, “Let It Be” by The Beatles.
Dattilo’s two sons, who attended the ceremony with their wives and children, were given a replica of the new street sign by Treyger to keep as a memento.
“It was an extremely nice gesture,” said son Michael Dattilo. “It was well-organized and well-planned.”
Eriquez said that the name of the street is significant, and honors Dattilo’s memory in more than one way.
“It was chosen to be Barbara Dattilo Way because the way she taught us, and the way she lived was so significant,” he said. “We would all like to follow Barbara’s way.”